From iPhone to Pre Review

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by thetexan, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. thetexan macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2009
    I had an iPhone 3G since launch, and yesterday I made the switch to the Palm Pre. I wanted to write a review from a non-fanboy perspective, as I don't support Apple or Palm I just want the best product on the market for me.


    Physical: When I first put it in my hand yesterday, it had a little bit of a "cheap" feel to it. To be fair, that cheap feel isn't a design flaw but due to the fact the keyboard slides down. I was really used to the way my iPhone felt, just one flat device with no moving parts. However after playing with it for a while I really don't think it feels cheap anymore, just different. The screen is beautiful, video looks sharper on the Pre than on the iPhone. Touch responsiveness isn't as good as the iPhone 2.2.1, in fact it reminds me of 2.0's buggy firmware, but it's not that far behind iPhone at all. It's way better than HTC's Touch Pro or the Storm, and better than the G1.

    Keyboard: Reviews pretty much bashed the keyboard but I am able to type better and with less mistakes than I was with my iPhone. The keyboard is something you can't read about online, as I was bummed about how bad it sounded but my personal experience is not bad at all. I miss tapping space twice to get a period, but the period key is right next to the spacebar. I can type easily with one hand though sliding the keyboard down one handed isn't easy. It's got a backlight but the backlight is kind of dim. I was able to type last night in the dark when I was kind of drunk, it's just a little strain on the eyes to see at night.

    Camera/Misc: Camera takes good pictures, and the camera is fast! It processes the image in the background so in less than a second after one snap you are ready to take the next snap. The flash is nice too, I got some good pictures at the club last night I wouldn't of been able to get with my iPhone because it was dark. No video, but Palm said that feature is coming in an update so hopefully soon. Speaker sounds crisp and loud for music, ringtones are hard to hear sometimes. Vibrate is weak too, can't really feel it in my pocket unless I'm sitting down.


    WebOS: Wow, really. I'm so used to being able to only do one thing at one time I often forget I can switch between applications with no problems. That's going to take a bit for me to get used to. I also love the notification system they have, and how the music player and Pandora takes advantage of that space. Gestures are, different. I still prefer the way the iPhone worked as far as going back, but that's just something I have to get used to. I've noticed a little lag when doing somethings, but honestly it's not all that bad. I assume it'll get better as the updates come.

    Applications: Right now this is the biggest problem with WebOS, the application store is still beta. Insiders say Palm is due to release the SDK before July, with one rumor saying Tuesday to attempt to take away steam from Apple's WWDC though who knows. The applications on the store are fantastic, though. Pandora is great and I've already used Fandango to purchase movie tickets yesterday. This is just one of those things that'll grow in time. Will it be as big as the iTunes store? No, but that's ok. I'm curious to see how games pan out though, but I've only purchased two games the entire time I owned an iPhone as I'm not a big mobile gamer. If mobile gaming is your thing, Pre right now might not be for you.

    Web Browser: It feels snappier than Safari, but that might be more of a Sprint thing than an iPhone thing. It behaves just like Safari and renders web pages just as well. I'd say the two web browsers are equal right now.

    Media: Well, it's no iPod. One thing Apple is great at is making media play. The Pre is a very capable music player, but the iPod application of the iPhone is better of course. Videos look fantastic on the Pre. The Pre is far better than Blackberry's media player or whatever nonsense they load on Windows Mobile devices now a days.

    Misc Software: My biggest problem with the Pre is the fact I can't change the notification sound / options yet. Let me select a text message sound I'll hear!

    Battery: Yesterday it sucked! Today it's much better after a full night on the charger. I have a feeling it said 100% charged yesterday bu really wasn't. It's on par with my iPhone 3G as I'm about 75% this time of day like I am right now on the Pre.

    Conclusion or tl;dr:

    My biggest beef with the iPhone wasn't the iPhone, it was AT&T. Network coverage is always something that changes person to person, but I just couldn't take AT&T anymore. I'll never give another dime of mine to AT&T (once I pay my last bill of course) and they really need to fix their network. Too many dropped calls, no 3G in places I should have 3G, and slow data speeds.

    If I had a choice between the Pre and the iPhone on a quality network like Sprint or Verizon (Sprint might have a bad rep for customer service, but their network is amazing) I'd still go iPhone for now. Why? Well, the Pre is a 1.0 device. However with that being said the Pre is a very solid 1.0 device with a lot of neat features and abilities. Is it the iPhone killer? No way! Nothing will ever kill the iPhone, ever. To be fair, the iPhone has yet to kill the Blackberry, or a Windows device, and the G1 sold really well for T-Mobile. Unlike all the other cheap iPhone knock offs we have seen and laughed at, this one doesn't feel like a knock off at all. It's a very solid device that is great today with a lot of potential for tomorrow.

    If anyone has any questions about the phone I'll be happy to help as best I can. I'm not trying to start a flame war or cause trouble but as I stated earlier I'm not a fanboy of any company, I believe fanboys are idiots. I simply want the best product for me and my needs, I don't care what logo is stamped on that product.
  2. elppa macrumors 68040


    Nov 26, 2003
    That's was a well written, very informative summary and a good read.

    The Prē is clearly a strong product.
  3. UngratefulNinja macrumors 68000


    May 9, 2009
    This was the first Pre review on here I read all the way through, because you gave pros and cons and an honest comparison. Thanks! :)
  4. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I'm glad you like it. I'm planning on picking one up July 4th-ish weekend, or there abouts, when my AT&T contract is up (I don't have an iPhone) and I was worried that everyone was full of hate, bad batteries, and screen issues.

    Hopefully by the 4th, it'll be even better! :D
  5. .Andy macrumors 68030


    Jul 18, 2004
    The Mergui Archipelago
    Great review and comparison thetexan. Thanks for going to the effort :).
  6. robothero macrumors 6502


    May 18, 2009
    aha, sprint, verizon, quality networks

    a++ jokes would read again
  7. thetexan thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2009
    I wanted to add some points about Sprint vs. AT&T:

    I get 450 minutes + N&W that start at 7pm + "unlimited" data + unlimited text/MMS + navigation + Sprint TV/Music and a few other Sprint software packages for about $53 a month + tax. On AT&T I'm paying about $93 a month after taxes for 450 minutes and text/data. I get a 25% discount with Sprint and I had a 15% discount with AT&T. I never minded paying extra for the iPhone on AT&T because I really enjoyed my iPhone (granted I didn't care for AT&T). All the other phones on the market were pure crap. The Pre is the first phone that is a viable alternative to iPhone/AT&T. I'll be glad to be saving about $30 a month by switching.

    Sprint Navigation is really good, I tested it out earlier today and worked well using turn by turn directions. A great "free" addition by using Sprint. Sprint TV is ok, I really only used the streaming music. I don't like it though because when you go into card view streaming music on Sprint TV the music stops. Pandora works in card view no problem.
  8. map1978 macrumors 68020


    Feb 9, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    nice review

    i think webOS is pretty sweet as well. like you said, its the first device and I see the 2nd/3rd device to be something to look forward too.

    i grew up with a moto beeper/nokia 1240 combo and now we have phones that are basically pocket computers...crazy
  9. thetexan thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2009
    You're right about that! I remember when mobile phones did voice only, and they didn't even do that very well! It's amazing how far the technology has come and I can't even begin to imagine what it'll look like in 10 years.

    Apple needs companies like Palm to keep that fire lit up under their rears. When companies compete, everyone wins! Competition drives innovation and lowers prices. Apple did such a bang up job it took two years to finally see a product that can finally play in the big leagues like the iPhone.
  10. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    Agreed. Great review, thanks.
  11. joeshell383 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 18, 2006
    Please post pics taken with the camera, preferably with some taken in low-light with the flash on.
  12. pablo7 macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2008
  13. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    thx for the review. It seems in line w/many of the pro reviews I've read that basically boil down to, "I wouldn't give up my iPhone for this version of the Pre, but if I didn't already own an iPhone choosing between the two would be tough."

    I'm in the latter category. This summer I'm either going to get an iPhone or a Pre (I'm on Sprint already but out of contract) but I'll probably hold off for a month or two so the new phones (assuming Apple does release a new phone) can be out in users hands for a while.

  14. The General macrumors 601

    Jul 7, 2006
    And close pictures, like barcodes and stuff. I want to see how the focus works.
  15. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    the monthly price alone would have me if i didnt already have iphone
  16. tayshon macrumors 6502a


    Apr 22, 2009
    Philly, PA
    Wow, that was a very good review. Good to read something other then Apple fans putting the Pre down just because it's not Apple, or Apple haters saying it the best the best thing in the world for the same reason. :)
  17. rburly macrumors 6502a


    Jan 15, 2009
    Good to read an objective review of the Pre. Thanks!
  18. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Yeah, the price is definitely part of the consideration as well. On the Pre part of Sprint's website they even compare the savings you get w/Sprint vs similar plans on Verizon and AT&T. I also like the voice turn-by-turn directions Sprint has so if the new iPhone doesn't do I'll lean even more towards the Pre.

    Does the Pre sync up w/apps like iCal and Address Book?

  19. thetexan thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2009
    Someone requested I post some up close pictures in the dark,

    They actually look better when I view the images directly on my PC instead of in Photobucket, not sure if PB compresses or anything. I've never used PB before, but the photo application allows me to MMS, Email, or upload my images directly to Facebook or Photobucket. Of course when I plug my phone up as a USB drive I see a folder with my images just like a digital camera. I didn't want to link to my Facebook profile obviously, so I just created a PB account to test the upload feature. Works great! Just be sure to click on Full Size.

    The pictures were taken up close in a room that is nearly pitch black. I also took a couple pictures of objects in my room at my apartment that is also really dark.

    The camera options aren't many, basically flash on, flash off, or flash auto and that's it. If there's a zoom I didn't see it but I didn't look too hard.

    Not out of the box,

    They're saying that software should be out in a week or two. Not sure on price, but the Blackberry's version of that software is $40 and it supposedly works great. Really cool thing about that software is it says it uses your wifi connection to do wireless sync or what they call proximity sync. It looks like it will be great software for anyone who doesn't want to use the cloud.

    Of course I'm not sure if there is software or not that will sync iCal/Address Book with Google but if there is your problem is solved. Keep your Mac synced with Google and your Pre synced with Google similar to how MobileMe works I guess.

    I have a Macbook but I still use my PC to manage all my contacts and what not so I have no first hand experience with iCal or Address Book really. I just used Outlook and synced Outlook with MobileME.


    I just noticed that Markspace product will keep your Pre's photos synced with iPhoto which I use a lot. I might have to consider buying that software.
  20. makaveli25 macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2007
    first, thanks for your review, i agree that maybe a second or third gen of this software (couple with different hardware probably) would be something to look forward to. My question is, the photo app only uses fb or pb, so no integration with flickr?
  21. thetexan thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2009
    No integration with flickr out of the box. I read the SDK's APIs allow access to photos so I'd expect to see an application out soon so photos can be uploaded to flickr or with an OTA update. I guess in the mean time one could email their photos to flickr, I see they give you an unique email address you can email photos to and they will show up on your flickr account.
  22. velvetelvis macrumors 6502


    Oct 26, 2007
    once again, very good review. and yes, att is kind of a joke for service.
    my friend just got the pre and i got to play with it. i really like the interface and the usability of it. but i felt the same way about the iphone when i first got it, then as time went on the coolness kinda wore off and i started noticing the problems... mms, cut and paste, etc... so give it time.
    but overall i was really impressed with the pre. i didnt get the cheap feel, it just felt like it had moving parts.
  23. Mikey B macrumors 65816

    Mikey B

    Jan 4, 2008
    the island
    Thanks, OP, for a very thoughtful review. I can't say I agree with it but it was a nice read.

    In my experiments with the Pre, I thought it was a nice phone, but definitely not the iPhone killer it is touted to be. Maybe the 3 different units I played with were the exceptions, but I found WebOS to be extremely slow and laggy. The gestures seemed over-complicated (not hard to use per se, just a bit much) and the device felt extremely cheap to me. I'm not sure what they were thinking with that "mirror" on the back of the screen when you slide the keyboard out, and the bottom edge is sharp enough to cut cheddar.

    It was refreshing to be able to use multiple apps at once but to me it took quite a toll on the responsiveness of the UI. Switching apps created a lag reminiscent of iPhone 2.0.

    On the plus, the screen is amazing, I love the size of the Pre, and it does fit well in the hands, despite feeling a bit cheap. Synergy is amazing. All in all, I would definitely recommend it to a friend on Sprint or someone that the iPhone isn't a fit for. All the Pre has really done for me is whet my appetite for iPhone 3.0.

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